A couple of perfect high school golf careers came to an end on Tuesday afternoon.
Not because of anything that happened on the course, but because C.J. Kim and Chun Ji Kim are seniors at Chandler Hamilton High School.
For the fourth time in four years, the two brothers helped the Huskies win the 5A-I boys state championship. This one came at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix.
Hamilton won the title easily with a 36-hole total of 5-over-par 581. Second-place Desert Vista finished 28 shots back. Tucson Salpointe, a team that has finished second three times to Hamilton in the last four years, was third, and Phoenix Brophy was fourth.
“C.J. and Chun Ji are kind of like our bedrock,” Hamilton coach Steve Kanner said. “They play in all of our events. The other guys see that, and it raised their level of ability and their motivation. It just kind of steamrolled for us. There is no magic formula. We’ve been fortunate to have good players with supportive parents who want their kids to get better.”
C.J. became a two-time champion on Tuesday, winning the individual title by one shot over teammate Cameron Palmer and by two shots over Tucson’s Derek Laporte. Kim was the only player under par at 1-under-par 143.
Hamilton has won five consecutive state titles and has put itself among the top programs in state history. The only team to win more consecutive titles was Thatcher from 1991-96.
The Huskies have also produced some of the top players, with Richard Lee, C.J. Kim and Brad Nicholson winning individual titles. Lee is now a professional who has qualified for the second stage of the PGA Tour’s qualifying school. Another top player, Andrew Yun, is a freshman at Stanford.
Like the previous four state champions, this Hamilton team was dominant all season. It won the Brophy Invitational, the Dobson Invitational, the Flagstaff Invitational and its own invitational.
The only tournament the Huskies didn’t win was in Texas, where they finished second to the Texas state champions.
“I can’t imagine a team having a more successful season,” Kanner said. “We had to beat a lot of good teams a lot of different times. What I’m pleased about most is our kids have the knack for playing well at the right time.”
C.J. began Tuesday trailing Brophy’s David Lowe by one shot, but an improvement in putting helped him shoot a 2-under-par 70. It was one of only two rounds under par during the entire 36-hole tournament with Palmer having the other one with a 71 on Tuesday.
“I played very solid golf today,” C.J. said Tuesday. “The putting was better than yesterday.”
C.J.’s play was predictable. He won last week’s super regional thanks to a second-round score of 8-under-par 64.
Now without him and his brother, the question is whether the Huskies keep this up. C.J. thinks they can.
“Without us I think they will be just as good,” C.J. said. “There are a lot of good players.”
All five Hamilton players finished in the top 15, with Palmer and Ken Iida both in the top 10. Both will be back next year.
The third time was not a charm for Scottsdale Horizon in its quest to get over the second-place hump, as Scottsdale Chaparral took home the 5A-II championship at 500 Club in Glendale.
The Firebirds’ two-day total of 587 won them a fourth consecutive state title, their first in 5A-II after winning three straight as a 4A Division I school.
For the third consecutive year, Horizon (594) finished as the 5A-II runner-up. Phoenix Pinnacle (596) took third place. Gilbert Perry finished fourth with consecutive 300 team scores for a 600 total, followed by Tucson Ironwood Ridge in fifth.
The Huskies’ Blake Cannon won the individual state championship with a pair of 3-under 69s for a 138, three shots ahead of Zach Wright (Pinnacle) and six shots ahead of Chaparral’s Matt Record.
Perry’s Jordan Lowery tied for fifth place with a 145 and the Pioneers’ Shane Allor was seventh, one shot ahead of Chaparral’s Austin Quick, who was one of five golfers to shoot a 147.
Catalina Foothills’ Bill Flower edged defending 4A-I boys champion Trey Kaahanui of McClintock on the second playoff hole Tuesday to win the individual championship in the 4A-I state golf tournament at Randolph Park Golf Complex in Tucson.
Both Flower and Kaahanui shot a 144 over two days, but after waiting around for three hours, Flower got the better of Kaahanui, who won last year’s tournament on a playoff hole but fell just shy of accomplishing the feat for the second straight year.
Led by Flower, Catalina Foothills took the team honors as well, shooting a 589, 18 strokes better than runner-up Canyon del Oro.
The three-peat was successful for Scottsdale Notre Dame, but every swing counted.
The Saints won a fifth state title in seven years with a two-day total of 612 at the 500 Club in Glendale, but not before Chandler Seton Catholic came calling.
Despite a seven-shot lead after the first round, the Saints struggled a bit in the second day and found themselves in a three-way tussle with the Sentinels and Glendale Cactus.
Seton finished with a 613 and a second-place trophy for the second consecutive year, as the Setinels were led by John Carosello’s 11th-place finish. Two teammates were right behind and all four scorers placed between 10th and 20th.
Cactus had 614 and Gilbert Williams Field was fourth at 619. Sinagua was fifth at 640 and Paradise Valley took sixth with 648.
Phoenix Thunderbird’s Logan Dix won the individual championship with a pair of 3-under 69s for a five-shot margin over Kale Davidson (Cactus).
Notre Dame’s Evan Markley finished third with a two-day total of 144, while teammate Brian Blanchard took sixth place at 149. Williams Field’s Nick Hool was fifth at 148.